Sat, Mar 23, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Court upholds convictions for attempted speech theft

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

The Taiwan High Court yesterday upheld convictions against two businessmen for breaches of the National Security Act (國家安全法).

The second ruling upheld charges against Yang Ku-chun (楊谷駿) and Huang Yuan-yu (黃元榆) for attempting to obtain an advance copy of President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) 2016 Double Ten National Day address.

The pair also invited retired military personnel on trips to China, where events were arranged with Chinese intelligence officials, the court heard.

Yang and Huang were working with companies based in China when they met with a high-ranking official in a Chinese intelligence agency surnamed Luo (駱) in 2014, the court heard.

Luo recruited Yang and Huang, as they had links to military personnel, it heard.

In 2016, Luo asked them to obtain an advance copy of Tsai’s address, but they did not succeed.

This major presidential address “usually involves important announcements on the nation’s policy direction and deals with the cross-strait relationship. As such, if China had obtained an advance copy, it could have undertaken pre-emptive actions and made policy changes as countermeasures against Taiwan,” prosecutors said.

“Although the defendents failed to obtain a copy, they still endangered national security,” they said.

Yang and Huang were sentenced to four months in prison in the first trial, which was also upheld. It can be converted to fine of NT$120,000.

The verdict can still be appealed.

In other news, travel restrictions were imposed on Chinese national Zhou Hongxu (周泓旭) on Thursday to prevent him from fleeing the country, as he faces charges in connection with alleged efforts to develop a spy ring with members of the New Party.

The Supreme Court issued orders to restrict Zhou’s movement following last week’s ruling that he recruited Ministry of Foreign Affairs personnel and other government workers to access confidential information.

Zhou channeled money from China to New Party members for an operation codenamed “Star Fire T Project,” which offered money depending on the value of contacts made, prosecutors told the Supreme Court.

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